The Waste Resource Action Programme says around 1m a tonnes of unopened food at a cost of £90 per household is binned in the UK.
An analysis of figures has shown that as much as one-quarter of food thrown away by households in the UK is still “untouched” in its packaging.
This habit is usually due to the product being past its use-by date and is costing £2.4bn a year nationally or £90 per household.
According to a new report from the Waste Resource Action Programme, unopened food amounts to 1m tonnes of the 4m tonnes of food wasted each year.
The total cost of food waste rises to about £200 a year for the average person when adding the cost of food and drink that is partly eaten before being thrown away, or cooked and then binned uneaten.
These waste reports come at a time when poorer and vulnerable people are said to be cutting down on healthy fresh fruit and vegetables because they cost too much.
Suggestions made by Wrap include households making sure they know what is in their fridge and cupboard before going shopping, meal-planning and making a shopping list.
Food waste indirectly adds to the cost of waste collections and landfill, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. WRAP is suggesting each of us could choose just one bad habit to change.
Emma Marsh, head of Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, said:
“We all have our own reasons for why food gets thrown away at home, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
We want to get people to look at the huge volume of food and drink ending up in the bin and consider the one thing they might do differently to make sure food gets tasted, not wasted.”
Wrap has set up an online site with a portion calculator and a free app, which provides advice on how to buy and cook what is needed, including recipes and tips for using up leftovers.
Wrap is also advising retailers to do their part in helping curb the amount of food waste, by taking a closer look at their packaging, and considering whether their portion size is realistic or whether an increase in packaging which can be resealed could be used to keep food fresh.